The New Temptation

Did you wake up today feeling like you’re missing out on something? Are you tempted to book your place in the queue for the revolutionary iPhone X?

I use Apple products every day but there’s something about the inevitable fanfare of their new product launches that concerns me. I’ll admit that it’s clever marketing but it always leaves me feeling quite unsettled.

The latest iPhones have been launched and once again they offer newer, better, must have features. So we now have the iPhone X, available from the first week of November, as well as the iPhone 8 and 8+ which will start selling before the end of this month. If you believe the hype, the new versions almost render the previous versions obsolete.

Apple has rolled out its much-anticipated iPhone X, a redesigned product of glass and stainless steel with an edge-to-edge display that Apple chief executive Tim Cook has described as, “the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone”.

The new iPhone features include wireless charging, an infrared camera and special hardware for facial recognition, which will replace the fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone. – ABC

I have certainly embraced new technology but I do worry about the relentless pursuit of the newest and latest.

Each upgrade or redesign is calculated to make us feel that the device in our hand is no longer worthy of our complete adoration. It’s time to move on to the next big thing and the next big thing is a shinier version of the last with features you didn’t know you needed until it was pointed out that you don’t have them.

Apple is not the issue.

Just in case you think this is a rant against Apple, it’s not. Just in case you think I’m just pointing the finger at others, I’m on the treadmill too. I don’t have the very latest of every ‘gadget’ but my eye is caught by the non-stop advancements in technology and a lot of the technology I own comes from the Apple factory.

I love music so I use my iPod Classic every day. I won an iPhone 6+ some years back and it’s excellent for both work and personal usage. (My phone battery died recently and I did the unthinkable. I paid to replace the battery rather than upgrading the phone.) I also regularly use my iPad at home and for work.

Apple isn’t the issue. The relentless push to have more and more of the very latest is what causes me to feel uneasy.

We may say that we’re buying new technology but we’re actually buying a promise. It’s the promise that a piece of technological hardware will make our life somehow better, more complete, but it’s a distraction and the promise is broken not long after we open the skilfully designed packaging.

My ‘old’ iPad, iPod and iPhone don’t cease to be functional when each new generation is released. They’re all several years old and several models out of date but interestingly enough, they still do what I need them to do.

It seems that we keep trying to fill every moment of every day with distractions that really don’t add anything to our quality of life and they certainly don’t answer the bigger life questions.

We feel that we need something new simply because it’s available and the thought of not have the latest causes some people to break out in cold sweats. And don’t tell me it’s about functionality. It’s about feeling that we’re missing out if we don’t have the latest. We imagine that it’s better whether it is or not.

We’ve let ourselves be duped into believing that satisfaction in life is just one more purchase away. The strange thing is that when the next new and shiny item is offered for sale we jump for it, demonstrating that the last item we thought would satisfy didn’t really improve our quality of life at all. If it did we wouldn’t need the latest version. Strangely enough, we refuse to learn the clearly obvious lesson and so we just repeat the cycle.

I’ve got news for you. It doesn’t stop and it will never satisfy.

All the latest gadgets, useful or not, are just distractions. They all cause us to take our eyes off what’s really important in life. They distract us from relationships, contemplation, relaxation, and spirituality.

So whether it’s the latest car, fashion, technology or anything else, make sure you know what you’re buying. Purchase what you need but don’t buy the hollow promises and distractions that inevitably come packaged with them.

We know that all the distractions don’t bring lasting happiness or joy but we keep pursuing them, refusing to learn that they’ll never satisfy. We keep chasing the distractions. We’re being distracted to death.

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The Frightening New Normal

6Plus

I posted this video a couple of years ago. The frightening thing is that the behaviour in the video seems more normal than it did back then. What they tried to overemphasize to make their point doesn’t seem odd or strange anymore.

It sometimes feels like we’re in a sci-fi movie where some evil genius has found a way to control everyone on the planet. How do we break free from that control before it’s too late?

Try walking down any street and see if you can go more than a few metres before you see someone on their phone. These devices have become extensions of ourselves. It’s something I need to watch for myself. I don’t want to only interact with a device when there are people all around me.

What steps are you taking to ensure that your phone doesn’t take over? Could you go a few days without your phone? What about a few hours? A few minutes?

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Reviewing an Amaysim Phone

6Plus

I’ve been a fan of mobile phone service provider Amaysim for years but I’ve got even more reason to recommend them now. Last month I won the opportunity to review a Gold iPhone 6 Plus for them with the added bonus that if I liked the phone, I could keep it.

If you’re looking for a cheaper plan for your mobile, head to Amaysim. If you want to know what I thought about the iPhone 6 Plus, keep reading.

iPhone 6 Plus Review

Living in the most isolated capital city in the world, Perth, Western Australia, you need ever advanced ways to stay connected. So what am I doing with a phone that was released in the middle of 2010? The iPhone 4 was a leader in its day but it’s time to move on.

I’m Rodney, and I’m checking out the iPhone 6 Plus. Will it handle constant Facebooking and Instagramming as well as my work needs? My job takes me to countries like Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Indonesia so I need something that’ll manage a variety of conditions.

Hey good lookin’

Apple has moved design forward with new curved edges and smooth surfaces without losing that distinctive iPhone look. The Gold iPhone 6 Plus looks classier than ever. It’s also pretty tough. It’s not the fragile, bendable phone some would have you believe.

I did find it a little hard getting used to the power button being moved to the side of the phone. Grasping the phone to turn it on or off I’d end up adjusting the volume via the switches on the opposite side. It took a little while but I’ve got it sorted now.

Largest and thinnest ever

The iPhone 6 Plus is the iPhone at its largest … and thinnest. How’s that even possible? I’m at my largest and I’m certainly not thin. Thankfully the iPhone 6 Plus with iOS 8 has an app for that. The Health app counts my steps each day and integrates with other health and exercise apps. I’ve linked it with my Strava cycling app. It’s also tracking my weight but it can do so much more. I won’t be getting as thin as the 7.1 mm 6 Plus but I’m hoping the Health app will point me in the right direction.

Speaking of apps, there are well over a million at the Apple Store. Sadly, I won’t have time to review them all here but you can be sure there’s an app for almost everything.

Apps load and respond incredibly quickly with iOS 8. My old 4 struggled at times, especially on apps like Facebook, but that’s all history now. Facebook loads almost instantly and navigating or uploading within the app is smooth and fast.

How large is too large?

The first thing people ask about the iPhone 6 Plus is its size. The way some people carry on you’d be forgiven for thinking the iPhone 6 Plus is the size of a small nation. Of course, it’s not. Maybe the size of a mid-range city.

To be honest, if I had the choice of an iPhone 6 or the 5.5 inch screen of an iPhone 6 Plus, I would have gone for the iPhone 6. I’d heard the hype about the Plus being too big, but within a couple of days I was convinced the naysayers had it wrong. You won’t prize the iPhone 6 Plus out of my man-sized hands anytime soon. Sure, it won’t suit everyone but it’s just right for me.

The bigger Retina HD display is remarkably sharp and perfect for images, but it’s also a great size for reading. Thanks to apps like iBooks and Kindle, my entire library is now in the palm of my hand. No more getting bored in airports or on planes.

I often deliver presentations to a range of audiences so having a device larger than my old iPhone 4 yet not as cumbersome on stage as my iPad for my notes is super helpful. Add to that the fact that our office database is switching to a mobile system and I wouldn’t want anything smaller than the Plus.

iPhone6PlusRodneyiSight Camera

The feature I really wanted to play with, I mean review, was the new camera with its enhanced video function. I wasn’t disappointed.

The iSight Camera has a list of highly advanced features like Optical Image Stabilisation, True Tone flash, Auto HDR and many others. But what do they all mean? Quite simply, better photos. A lot of quality cameras will now find themselves sitting at home with nothing to do.

Whether it’s a quick point and shoot with the improved auto focus or getting a little bit fancier with the myriad of manual adjustments you can now make, you’ll end up with stunning images. Even the front facing camera is improved meaning better FaceTime or (dare I say it?) selfies.

Videoing hasn’t missed out on the make-over either. As well as 1080p HD video recording there’s Slo-Mo video that provides stunning results.

Battery life

Perhaps one of the best new features is the extraordinary battery life of the iPhone 6 Plus. If you’ve ever watched your phone power drain away right when you’ve needed it most, you’ll love the iPhone 6 Plus. I used to run out of power towards the end of a busy day but now I can sometimes go a couple of days without recharging.

I’m keeping the iPhone 6 Plus

As I mentioned, this isn’t a phone for everyone, but it’s definitely the phone for me. As with all things Apple, it just works as it’s meant to work. It has far too many features to highlight in one review.

If you work ‘on the road’ and need something that will keep you connected, I’d certainly recommend the iPhone 6 Plus.

It might be a little pricey if you think of it as only a phone but as a mobile office with lots of features for after work, it’s a worthwhile investment.

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Death by Distraction

apple

(This is an updated post, first written in 2012 at the time of the iPhone 5 launch.)

I’m conflicted. I use Apple products every day but there’s something about the inevitable fanfare of their new product launches that always concerns me. I’ll admit that it’s clever marketing but it always leaves me feeling quite unsettled.

The iPhone 6 is about to be launched and people will soon be scrambling to get their hands on the new technology. Many are guessing about what amazing features the new iPhone will have. People are also excited about the possibility of the launch of the iWatch.

I have certainly embraced new technology but I do worry about the relentless pursuit of the newest and latest. I read some years back of a young woman who loves Apple so much that she says she’d had about eight iPhones over just a couple of years. The number has probably continued to climb since then. For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone needs to be buying that many phones.

Apple is not the issue.

Just in case you think this is a rant against Apple, it’s not. I love music so I love the iPod that I received as a gift some years ago. My wife won an iPad and gave it to me. I use it all the time and find it very handy for a variety of purposes. I currently have an iPhone 4, the model before Siri. Most people would consider it prehistoric but I find it both fun and functional. It still does what I need it to do and if at some point it stops working, I’ll look at an upgrade. Apple isn’t the issue. The relentless push to have more and more of the very latest is what causes me to feel uneasy. Our constant need to cast off what is still doing what it needs to do simply to have a newer version with a few tweaks is troubling.

My ‘old’ iPad didn’t cease to be functional when the next generation and the one after that were released. My iPod is quite a few years old and several models out of date but interestingly enough, it still plays my favourite music. I actually wouldn’t mind a new iPod but not the latest and supposedly greatest model. If I get the chance I’m going for the classic. It’s bulkier and has less features but it will fit heaps more music and strangely enough, that’s what it’s about for me.

It seems that we keep trying to fill every moment of every day with distractions that really don’t add anything to our quality of life and they certainly don’t answer the bigger life questions. We feel that we need something new simply because it’s available and the thought of not have the latest causes some people to break out in cold sweats. And don’t tell me it’s about functionality. It’s about feeling that we’re missing out if we don’t have the latest. We imagine that it’s better whether it is or not.

It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes all over again. We’ve let ourselves be duped into believing that satisfaction in life is just one more purchase away.

The strange thing is that when then next new and shiny item is offered for sale we jump for it, demonstrating that the last item we thought would satisfy didn’t really improve our quality of life at all. If it did we wouldn’t need the latest version.

Strangely enough we refuse to learn the clearly obvious lesson and so we just repeat the cycle.

We may say that we’re buying new technology but we’re actually buying a promise. It’s the promise that a piece of technological hardware will make our life somehow better, more complete, but it’s a distraction and the promise is broken not long after we open the skilfully designed box.

I’ve got news for you. It doesn’t stop and it will never satisfy.

All the latest gadgets, useful or not, are just distractions. They all cause us to take our eyes off what’s really important in life. They distract us from relationships, contemplation, relaxation and spirituality. We know that all the distractions don’t bring lasting happiness or joy but we keep pursuing them, refusing to learn that they’ll never satisfy. We keep chasing the distractions. We’re being distracted to death.

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How many apps do you actually use?

apps

Apple has 50 billion reasons to smile this week. They’ve reached yet another incredible milestone.

CUPERTINO, California?May 16, 2013?Apple® today announced that customers have downloaded over 50 billion apps* from the revolutionary App Store?. Customers are downloading more than 800 apps per second at a rate of over two billion apps per month on the App Store. The 50 billionth app was Say the Same Thing by Space Inch, LLC, which was downloaded by Brandon Ashmore from Mentor, Ohio who received a $10,000 App Store Gift Card to commemorate this historic milestone.

“Apple would like to thank our incredible customers and developers for topping 50 billion apps downloaded,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “The App Store completely transformed how people use their mobile devices and created a thriving app ecosystem that has paid out over nine billion dollars to developers. We’re absolutely floored to cross this milestone in less than five years.”

The App Store opened in July 2008 with 500 apps. Since its introduction, Apple’s incredible developer community has created an app for doing almost everything imaginable on an iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch®. – Apple

*50 billion unique downloads excluding re-downloads and updates.

I’m wondering how many of those 50 billion downloaded apps are actually being used. I think that most of us download a lot of apps that we don’t end up using or that we use for a short time before finding something that does the job better. (Which results in us downloading yet another app.)

I took a quick look at my iPhone this morning to find that I have 102 apps installed. I use about 15 on a regular basis and another 15 on odd occasions. That’s only 30 out of 102 apps in use. I’m guessing it’d be a similar situation if I did a count on my iPad.

So how about you? Grab your phone or iPad now and do a quick check. Let me know the numbers.

I asked the question on radio this morning and had several similar responses. “I have 165 apps but use 26.” “65 apps and use 20 of them regularly.” My family has 120 apps on our phones. computers etc. I would probably only use about 15 of those on a regular basis.”

Once you’ve checked your devices just leave a comment with the results

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